Survey: Here’s The No. 1 Reason Americans Crave Travel Rewards Credit Cards

People who love their travel rewards credit cards are most eager to use them to offset vacation costs, a new Forbes Advisor survey shows. Using rewards to grab a flight to a sunny escape or to stay at an all-inclusive ski retreat is even more appealing than other card benefits—like free access to a speedy airport security screening line or a private place to relax away from other travelers.

Key Findings

The survey of 2,000 consumers conducted by OnePoll in partnership with Chase Sapphire Reserve® found a majority of adults say they would use or have used points to pay for most or all of a trip.

Other top features that Americans look for in a travel credit card include:

  • Earning a lucrative welcome bonus or accelerated rewards on their purchases
  • Enjoying access to airport lounges
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, which is even more popular than other benefits, like travel and emergency assistance services and purchase protection

Cardholders Love Travel Rewards and Welcome Bonuses

Our survey asked participants which travel rewards appealed to them the most. They favored redeeming rewards for travel, earning accelerated rewards and earning a welcome bonus nearly equally.

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Cardholders also love airport lounge access, airport screening, the ability to earn accelerated rewards on purchases and perks like VIP event access or exclusive experiences for cardmembers.

Survey Here’s The No. 1 Reason Americans Crave Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Survey Here’s The No. 1 Reason Americans Crave Travel Rewards Credit Cards

What Do You Like Most About Travel Credit Cards? Even though travel redemption is the most appealing aspect of travel rewards credit cards, Americans still say they would rather redeem their points for cash back above all else, our survey found. A smaller number said their preferred redemption option was transferring accumulated points to airline or hotel rewards programs.

Americans Want Travel Credits to Book Hotels and Flights

Annual travel credits are important to customers who already have travel-related expenses that qualify in mind. Respondents said they were most likely to use a travel credit for a hotel stay or to offset the cost of a flight; booking a car rental and redeeming a credit to help pay for a cruise were also popular choices.

Adults ages 18 to 25 expressed more interest than other age groups in redeeming credits for other types of travel like trains, buses, timeshares and parking lots/garages, while those aged 18 to 41 were more likely than older age groups to redeem a travel credit on taxis or car services.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Among Most Valued Benefits

Our survey also showed that out of the major popular travel and purchase protection benefits offered by many of the best travel rewards cards, trip cancellation/interruption is the most coveted protection. About half of survey participants said trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance was important to them.

Which Travel Rewards Credit Cards Benefits Are Most Appealing?

Younger Americans Enjoy Exclusive Cardholder Perks

Our survey found benefits that are most popular among younger people are cardmember-only access to sports events, film festivals or exclusive experiences such as a multi-course meal prepared by a celebrity chef.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Offers Rewards Travelers Want

Consumers looking for the most desired redemption opportunities and benefits—from travel credits and accelerated rewards to trip cancellation insurance and purchase protection—can find them all in Chase Sapphire Reserve.

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The Reserve card earns 5 points per dollar on flights and 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals when purchasing travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3 points per dollar on other travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. New cardmembers can also earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Chase Sapphire Reserve can help make Americans’ dreams of reducing the out-of-pocket cost of travel a reality as cardholders can receive 50% more value when redeeming points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through the portal.

What’s more, travelers booking through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection—a network of over  1,000 resorts and hotels worldwide—receive extra perks with their bookings. Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades and late checkout are just some of the available amenities. You’ll also qualify for special, property-specific benefits worth up to $100 at select properties.

Travel Statement Credits

Sapphire Reserve cardholders can receive up to a $300 statement credit for travel purchases each year; Chase will apply the credit automatically to eligible purchases.

Chase’s broad definition of travel includes the most popular options picked by survey respondents and more. Sapphire Reserve’s travel credit may be used for purchases made with airlines, hotels, car rentals, taxis, tolls, parking garages, and more.

Travel Protection 

If you book your travel through Reserve and your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.

The card also offers a primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Trip Delay Reimbursement and Emergency Evacuation & Transportation plus Purchase Protection, Return Protection and Extended Warranty Protection.

Other benefits include:  

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services. If you run into a problem away from home, call the Benefit Administrator for legal and medical referrals or other travel and emergency assistance. (You will be responsible for the cost of any goods or services obtained.)
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.

Other Chase Sapphire Reserve Features

When it comes to travel perks, Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a bit of something for every type of traveler. Our survey found:

  • Of Americans who have used an airport screening service like TSA Precheck®, Global Entry or NEXUS, faster airport security screening was the feature survey respondents said they enjoyed the most. Chase Sapphire Reserve offers reimbursement up to $100 on TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fees or reimbursement up to once every four years of card membership for NEXUS application fees.
  • Consumers interested in free airport lounge access found that free or discounted food or drinks was the most appealing benefit. Chase Sapphire Reserve offers lounge access via a Priority Pass Select Membership, which can be used at more than 1,300 locations worldwide.
  • Nearly half of respondents said they most valued credit cards that offer extra rewards on eat-in dining restaurants. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on dining with Chase Sapphire Reserve, including both dine-in and fast food restaurants, as well as when you use eligible delivery services.


This online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults was commissioned by Forbes Advisor and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected on Nov. 10-14, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 points with 95% confidence. This survey was overseen by the OnePoll research team, which is a member of the MRS and has corporate membership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

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